"The NABJ Sports Task Force has honored a long list of African-American sports standouts that include Eddie Robinson, Joe Frazier, Minnie Minoso, Ken Williams, Clarence "Big House" Gaines, Doug Williams, Avery Johnson, Kellen Winslow, Dominique Wilkins, amongst many others," said Spears. "It was a pleasure to add Ron Washington to that esteemed list during the NABJ Convention in his hometown of New Orleans in July. We would also like to thank the Texas Rangers for the opportunity to present the award to Ron Washington prior to the Baltimore Orioles game. With the late legendary sports writer Sam Lacy in mind, I can't think of a better setting to present the award."
"Pioneers set precedents, and Ron Washington certainly has done that as the Texas Rangers' most successful manager," said Thomas. "So when the Sports Task Force considered candidates for its Sam Lacy Pioneer Awards, to use a baseball term, Ron batted leadoff. He has proven himself worthy of an award named after Lacy, a determined black sports columnist who was instrumental in Jackie Robinson integrating Major League Baseball. It's an honor to present Ron's Pioneer Award in front of his fans, and in front of the team that represents Baltimore, where Lacy's column appeared in the Afro-American for 59 years."
About the Sam Lacy Award: Named for sports writing legend, Sam Lacy, who was inducted in 1998 into the broadcasters' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The award is given annually to sports figures based on their contributions to their respected careers, but more importantly, their direct impact on the communities they served. Additional 2012 Sam Lacy Pioneer Award winners included late Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson, Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson, former University of New Orleans volleyball great Javonne Brooks-Grant, longtime New Orleans sports reporter Ro Brown, Louisiana high school coaching legend Bernard Griffith and sports print reporter R.L. Stockard.